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Des Peres 4 Cine: not my favorite cinema! This was Wehrenberg’s multiplex that helped dumb down theaters in St. Louis. When it started as four screens, they were four smallish shotgun-shaped auditoriums with small screens at their fronts.
I really did not want to go to movies there! Not at all. Seeing what should be a big-screen film on what was basically a big TV screen was deflating. Having boring multiplexes like this lowered the odds that you could see a movie on a decent screen in St. Louis.
The 14-screen redesign was kind-of okay when it came to the main auditorium, which later got stadium seating. But, the other screens were pretty much as useless as the original four.
I went there last year for a church service, and the place is aging, and not in the best way.
I’ll lead off by saying it was a MAJOR crime to not show “Jedi” at Creve Coeur or Mark Twain! Anyway, the Esquire was definitely a mixed bag.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s, the main auditorium was notable for its 70mm and 6-track Dolby Stereo capabilities, best used for films like “Blade Runner” and “Aliens.” The original fourth auditorium was one of Mid-America’s usual utilitarian screens. Nothing special, just reasonably sized. Saw movies like “Predator” there. My memory was that it had a separate entrance, box office and concession. You entered on the east side, as opposed to the other three screen’s north entrance.
Best not to speak of the impossibly awful two upstairs screens. Don’t get me started! Mid-America was advertising that “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” was being shown at the Esquire on the “largest screen in the city.” When my mom and I got there for a matinee, it was instead showing in one of the tiny shoebox-sized upstairs screens. That memory still gets on my nerves!
The newer four screens are along Mid-America’s amazingly unremarkable blueprint: unappealing and nondescript. I saw movies in those four auditoriums, but definitely never wanted to. Bad in the way the Woods Mill was.
The Esquire’s updating of the main auditorium around 1989 did go well, however, and had good projection and sound.
They should probably have called the Shady Oak the Melancholy since it seems to hold both happy and sad memories for quite a few of us, it seems.
I remember going here with one of my life’s two unrequited loves for “Children of a Lesser God” in 1986. I was also there for a movie with one of my former girlfriends in the early 1990’s.
This was a pretty straight-forward cinema, but low on frills. No sophisticated projection or sound. So, what you got was pretty basic. The design of the place was what you most remembered.
Other films I remember here were “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and “Face/Off.”
A twin cinema that was much, much better than any other twin cinema! One auditorium was equipped for 70mm and 6-track Dolby Stereo. My favorite experience there was in 1978, with Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven,” my second-favorite film of all time!
It was a great venue, and hats off to Wehrenberg for elevating the twin to the level of Westport! The union-led crew took great pride in making sure that the projection and sound were right on the money. And, as mentioned, the opening curtains with the Wehrenberg jingle made every showing special!
Other very fond memories include “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” “Ordinary People,” “Tron” and “Damien: Omen II.” Yes, I love that movie, what can I say? :–)
Excellent screen, and excellent programming by the Film Society! Saw “MASH” here in 2010 with Elliott Gould in attendance for Q&A. Mr. Gould was great, and I had a five-plus minute conversation with him about conspiracy films of the 1970’s, since I love “Capricorn One” so much! He and Tom Skerritt were great and signed a commermorative 20th Century-Fox 75th Anniversary poster for a number of us.
The auditorium is very nice, a great balance of nice size and excellent projection and sound. I would love to come back and see more films!
In my opinion, the main auditorium is the best current screen in the United States! I saw “The Tree of Life” here in digital with legendary Visual Effects Supervisor Douglas Trumbull in attendance for intro and Q&A. I got there late and had my photography equipment in tow. So, I watched the film from the front row of the upper section, seated in one of the far-left seats. So, quite an angle! But, the picture was blow-you-away incredible! Mr. Trumbull was kind-of cranky, but this made for one of my all-time greatest film experiences!
My second all-time favorite cinema after Creve Coeur Cine! Magnificent 70mm projection and 6-track Dolby Stereo sound! Best memory was a re-release of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” my all-time favorite film! I personally remember the projection as being even better than at Creve Coeur. Other great memories were of “Superman,” “The Shining,” “Ghostbusters” and “Reds.”
It is cool that the building still stands, even though it’s now a banquet center! :–)
This was a straight-forward Mid-America Theaters location. But, since we had a cottage at Lake of the Ozarks, and this was the main cinema there, I saw many of my favorite films at Lake Cinema, including “American Graffiti” and “All the President’s Men.”
My all-time favorite cinema! Its original one-auditorium configuration was so sweet! Favorite memory was in 1977. We went to see “Star Wars.” Creve Coeur was one of the 43 original cinemas to show it. We went for the 7 p.m. or so showing. It was sold out. So, we got tickets for the next showing, went across to Schnuck’s for some ice cream. We came back, sat on the floor with everyone else and had some popcorn while waiting for our showing to start. We had a blast, and spent the rest of the summer telling everyone about the movie!
Tons of other great memories here, too many to mention! Beautiful auditorium with pitch-perfect 70mm projection and 6-track Dolby Stereo sound!
Utilitarian-at-best twin that I remember as having unmemorable projection and sound. Plus, I just have to make the snarky remark that it is quite unlikely that anyone is going to “Favorite” this cinema, because, honestly, why would you? :–)
Multiplex-happy installation that had one redeeming auditorium, the main one! That was very good, with 70mm and 6-track Dolby Stereo capabilities. Very fond memories of seeing “Amadeus” epecially in 1984. Also, “2010,” “Top Gun” and “The Hunt for Red October.” The remaining auditoriums were non-descript at best.
Very basic General Cinema location! This was one of the unfortunate cinemas resulting from the late 1970’s insistence on multiplexes. Basic projection and sound, plus small auditoriums. Saw “The Blues Brothers” here in 1980. Wished it had been it in a better cinema! :–)
Favorite movie memory here was seeing “Black Sunday” in 1977. Great film! One of St. Louis' most impressive 1970’s-era cinemas!
I infamously dragged my mother and brother here for the 1978 premiere of “The Swarm!” It was the day before our family was to head off on an RV trip to Colorado. I remember reading the abysmal reviews in the newspaper as we were on our trip!
Lots of great memories here! “Halloween,” “Coma,” “Magic,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” James Bond movies, etc. Simple, compact twin cinema. Thank you so much for the photo!
It is a cool cinema! I wonder if there is a way to get more data up? Like how many seats in the Mega Screen, etc.? I think it’s around 575 or so. The Mega Screen is cool, and they have two 4K projectors (I’m guessing one for 2-D, two for 3-D). The image there is sweet, especially for 3-D or for standard 1:85 films. When they go Cinemascope (2:35), the image does start to dim a bit, and you lose color depth and contrast.
That is super cool that there are two photos of this cinema! I so wish that I had photos of some of these great places myself. I first saw my favorite film here, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” I was so young that all I remember was that it was an incredible light show!